Apr 192012

Since the demise of the Eaton Home Heartbeat monitoring services back in June of 2011, their customers have been left without any remote notification of their home’s status. Some enterprising hackers have taken up the cause to bring this abandoned system back to life. A few are frustrated home owners with idled Home Heartbeat systems, while others are tinkerers itching for a new project.  They took advantage of the hoards of surplus Home Heartbeat hardware that suddenly came on the market at pennies on the dollar.

The hardware has been dissected, photographed, analyzed, and documented. Investigations hoped for any avenue that could breath new life into these systems. They thought of interfacing the Eaton sensors with other ZigBee networks. They pondered the idea of reprogramming the on-board micro-controllers. But the idea that stuck is to use the Home Heartbeat system, unmodified, by interfacing to its unutilized USB port. Continue reading »

Apr 092012
The Eaton Home Heartbeat System

The Eaton Home Heartbeat System

The Home Heartbeat was a monitoring system for your home’s vital signs. Introduced by Eaton Electrical, Inc. at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas during January of 2005. It was officially retired on June 1, 2011. Not to be confused with a home control system, the Home Heartbeat ostensibly provided status information about your house. Sensors could monitor doors/windows, movement, water leakage, and power consumption of plugged in appliances. Any trouble detected would be sent to a wireless key fob carried by the homeowner. If the home owner was out of range of the system (60-90 feet), these alerts would be sent via SMS or email. That’s about all there was to it. Now that Eaton has discontinued the product line, the remote notification support no longer works. Continue reading »

Apr 082012

Having been a long time devote of the MythTV DVR, I was lulled into a state of complacency. I came to believe that my home-built DVR was an appliance that would perform its duties ad infinitum. About a year ago, the cable company insisted that I take several of its digital converter boxes. They said that I would need them to continue to get cable service. I put them in the closet, and put it out of my mind. For months, I said to myself, “My cable TV works fine, I don’t need no stinking boxes”. Then, one day, more than six months later, I sat down to enjoy my favorite TV programs, faithfully recorded on my DVR, as had always been the case. The horror of it all, was that there was nothing but snow recorded for many of the programs. The sneaky cable company had switched off nearly all of the channels, without so much as a “how do you do”. Continue reading »

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Apr 072012

Technology has a life, in that it is born in the minds of its creators, lives through use by its admirers, and dies through obsolescence and disinterest. The users of technology range from the early adopters, through broad fanaticism by the ‘me-too’ masses, and finally onto those who join the party just as the majority have moved on in a fickle state of disinterest. Then there are the scavengers and the repurposers who breathe new life into mature or obsolete technology. We hail these alternative technology uses.

We exalt the advancement of technology and wait for the day when it becomes commonplace and even disdained. We adopt these castoffs and orphans of technology and put them to good use.

 Posted by at 10:30 am


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Apr 072012

Kolinahr is a Vulcan discipline wherein all emotion is renounced and shed. What remains is a state of pure logic.

From the film:

Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Stardate: 7410.2
Original Airdate: Dec 20, 1979

FEMALE MASTER: (in Vulcan) Our ancestors cast out their animal passions on these very sands, …saving our race through the attainment of Kolinahr.
MALE MASTER: (in Vulcan) Kolinahr, through which all emotion is renounced and shed.
FEMALE MASTER: (in Vulcan) You have laboured for many seasons, Spock …and you have proved yourself worthy …to receive this symbol of pure logic.
(Spock stops her putting the ancient pendant around his neck)
FEMALE MASTER: (in Vulcan) Your thoughts, give them to me. Our minds are joined, Spock, …together, and as one. I sense the consciousness calling to you from space. …Your human blood is touched by it, Spock. You have not yet attained Kolinahr. He must search elsewhere for his answer. He shall not find it here. Live long and prosper, Spock.

 Posted by at 9:07 am